From The Horse's Mouth: John Ross of Challenger on The World is Too Much For Me

The World is Too Much For Me

Challenger creates a musical plea but builds momentum and becomes a force of change, of light, of positivity, of love; an ambitious change you can dance to.   John Ross sings, plays guitar, and produced all of the the pre-recorded material. Devyn Waitt plays keys and also creates all of the visual accompaniment and media for the videos and live set. John Frank provides the beat. 
The World is Too Much for Me, their debut album that sees the light of day on November 27,  found their beginnings while Ross and Waitt were working on the score for the film “Not Waving But Drowning” which Waitt wrote and directed. The World Is Too Much for Me has been over two years in the making and delivers epic, Peter Gabriel and Sigur Ros leaning pop that is as beautiful as it is intriguing. 
Ghettoblaster caught up with Ross to discuss the LP.  Here is what he told us about it…
When did you begin writing the material for this debut album?  
I started making rough versions of the songs about four years ago. It took that long to fully flesh them out, record them, mix and then master them. I scored Devyn’s feature film, Not Waving But Drowning, in the middle of that though. 
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing?  Why was it so troublesome?
I wanted every song to have some pretty extreme dynamics ranging from whisper-small to devastatingly big so nothing about the production process was easy or formulaic. The hardest though might have been “Are You Scared Too?”
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
“Are You Scared Too?” started out as a pop punk song.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
I was really fortunate to have met some great players on the record. Andrew Haynie played saxophone. Steve Vallone played Accordion. Brian Randazzo played guitar. The Canarsie Kids sang. And Eric Hoffman did some mastering.
Who produced the record?  What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
I produced. I have mixed feelings about being the one who writes, records and produces. There should probably be some distance between the writing and the producing. I’m pretty happy with how the album sounds though.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together? 
If there is any central idea about The World Is Too Much for Me, it’s about creating the world you want to live in. The songs are fantastical. They’re epically huge and the lyrics are very sentimental. I’m excited to see how/if these songs resonate with an audience.